Pandan wangi (Pandanus amaryllifolius) used in cooking rice and kueh, deliciously fragrant, also scattered on graves. The kubur smells of pandan. Young pandan shoots at the cape are eaten by Gajah Mina the enormous sea elephant who swims against the current from indonesia to sarawak to eat pandan from the rocks during the full morning tide, about 5.30am.9. When the tide recedes, the pandan is cropped short, like something has cut it with a parang. Gajah Mina. And sometimes when you use a pukut hanyut drift net to catch mackerel gajah mina will get stuck in the net then free herself, leaving a strong smell on the net - the fish won’t come near after this.

Her nebulous body, covered in fur, washes up on the shores of the Natuna islands ︎︎︎, is commemorated in public statues in Bali, known as Makara in India. Not a dugong / a duyung, Gajah Mina is different. Later, I met a friend in London and told him about Gajah Mina - oh, he said, my child has a book about that - then sends me a photo ︎︎︎ 

/ In my memory of our discussions Gajah Mina grazed on seagrass meadows. I fall into a trap of seagrass research, Halodule pinifolia, how seagrass meadows sustain the megalopae phase of a mudcrab’s life / bridges mangroves and coral reefs / provide major food sources for large marine mammals / are blotted out by sedimentary run off from plantations. But my notes say pucuk pandan ︎︎︎, pandan shoots. I whatsapp Pak Uning Laut for clarification - it’s pandan, he insists, not seagrass. The pandan grows on the steep rock faces on the right side of the beach at the cape. I’ll try and remember to take a photo next time I’m there, he says. But then I remember I took photos of the same location - wait - here? - here ︎︎︎: 

Yes there, there’s a small cave to the left of the photo says Pak Uning. The pandan grows above it. No, I said - how can Gajah Mina reach the pandan high up on a rock above the water when she doesn’t have legs? She has the body of a fish. No, she has four legs, a tail, a long head, says Pak Uning. Following this old story, he says, I imagine this Gajah Mina has leher panjang macam dinasour. Sebab pucuk pandan dia makan tinggi atas batu, tapi dia boleh makan pucuk pandan tu

No how, I argue. Long neck like a dinosaur or long nose like an elephant? Something no matter what something emerging from the waters at king tide for the pandan high on the cliff. Anyway I told him, this rock - the rock spooked me, I had a strong feeling there. That’s why I have so many photos of it, a strong spooky feeling that wasn’t apparent in any of the photos I took, I remember the frustration and disappointment in the moment. Oh, that’s because of a true story - says Pak Uning - and proceeds to tell me the events that took place there years ago when he was a child, which would lead to me feeling unsettled, just there by the rock with the pandan. Nothing to do with Gajah Mina.